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Anonymous Poster #1

Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 8:47 AM

What is the technology and process used to refuel air crafts in mid air? I am curious as to how can we transfer fuel from one aircraft to another without any chance of mid-air collision! If possible please give some pictures for better understanding.

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Anonymous Poster #2
#1

Re: Refuelling of aircrafts

02/26/2013 9:00 AM

And the reason you can't google it, is?

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Anonymous Poster #1
#3
In reply to #1

Re: Refuelling of aircrafts

02/26/2013 9:32 AM

I found one video in youtube regarding mid air fuel filling. But I am curious how the fuel hose still maintain horizontal straightline position in windy condition? how will it attach to the fuel tank opening of a fighter jet? Is it temperory magnetic ? Is there any fuel lid in aircrafts to close after fuel filling?in car we can open the fuel lid by remote arm,but after fuel filling someone should close the fuel lid!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFwnckC3a1Y

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Anonymous Poster #3
#2

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 9:29 AM
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#4

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 9:34 AM

Basically you need 2 manned planes: one with scarse fuel, the other one with plenty of it. Plane #2 will hand a big hose over to plane #1. Once hose ends are connected, fuel passes from 2 to 1. Process ends when pilot 1 runs out of cash or his tank is full.

Process is more or less as in the picture, but using planes instead of ships.

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#5

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 10:02 AM

I am curious,how can we transfer fuel from one aircraft to another with out any chance of mid air collision!

Skill But that doesn't remove the chance. Been few close calls.

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#18
In reply to #5

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/27/2013 8:21 AM

There have been collisions!

oilcan13

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#6

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 10:07 AM
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#7

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 12:10 PM

My 2 cents. In flight refueling is the second most dangerous skill most pilots need to learn (landing on an aircraft carrier is REALLY dangerous)! It takes a lot of training and years of practice to do, that's why MOST nation states don't do it - too much time and $$$.

Not to mention that KC-135's and the older (and I believed retired KC-10's) are basically only sold to NATO allies. However, I'm sure BOEING would be happy to sell you one!

HTH,

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#15
In reply to #7

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 5:09 PM

Actually, to get even more specific, I've always been most impressed by midair helicopter refueling.

Keeping the refueling hose out of the way of the blades must be a real art!

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#8

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 12:21 PM

Different wind conditions exist at different levels in the atmosphere.

What matters is differential wind speed. Typically the prevailing wind speed where the refueling takes place is a lot less than the airspeed of the planes. The real problem is turbulence, which is handled through practice.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 12:32 PM

Of course the prevailing wind is the same for both planes by and large so is irrelevant!
As you said turbulence is the prob... I know this because cats often refuel at high altitude... or is that birds?... Idunno..whateva...

Del

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#10

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 1:21 PM

how can we transfer fuel from one aircraft to another with out any chance of mid air collision

You cannot, there is always a risk. The only safe way is to land and refuel, but this just reduces the risk of refueling.

Jack - There is always risk.

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#11
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Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 1:31 PM

"You cannot, there is always a risk. The only safe way is to land and refuel, but this just reduces the risk of refueling" to fly, land, refuel and take off again also involves risks..... i´d rather go fishing!

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#12
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Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 1:35 PM

Well a fine pilot you would make then!

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 2:23 PM

probably a lousy pilot... but a hell of a fisherman!

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/26/2013 3:33 PM

Boats have pilots! Even fishing there's a chance you hit a log and sink the boat. So even it the worlds # 1 participating sport we take chances. Still can't think of a much better place I rather be!

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#16

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/27/2013 1:35 AM

If you have a Naval Air Station in your area, you might catch up with one of the fly boys at the local watering hole. For a beer or two he could probably offer some first hand knowledge on what it's like topping off at 300 knots.

With the state of terrorism in the US and around the world, it would be pretty tough gaining access to a military base and having a look see.

From what I've seen, the plane being refueled has a tubular arm, which hydraulically or electrically extends/re-tracks into the fuselage. (It is located behind an access panel/door when not in use to insure the airframe's aerodynamics)This tubular arm has a spherical tip with a latching mechanism, which would provide a positive lock/seal with the refueling hose when attached. The refueling hose is payed out from the rear of the re-fueler aircraft. The end of the hose that connects with the refueling probe has a funnel shaped device, which I assume provides some aerodynamics for the hose as it is payed out, as well as serving as a guide for the probe on the aircraft being refueled. That's about the best I could describe it for you. I don't have any knowledge of the intracasies in the actual sequence of operations required.

A lot of commercial pilots are ex military pilots, so they could offer some insight. You could find one or two of them where ever the stewardesses hang out.

Failing that, a local library should have some decent books and information on military aircraft.

Last choice, find out firsthand, the Navy's looking for a few good men. (4 years was enough for me)

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#17

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/27/2013 2:05 AM

Very carefully.

10 years later

and some $10billons later

You are done.

Any more interesting questions?

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#19

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/27/2013 1:42 PM

If you are needing to go to a General Engineer's site , for a very technical question as this, please file your Flight Plan with all of us, so that we may avoid the area totally, that is , until you are very proficient with this maneuver. Knew guys whom did this over the Pacific , during Nam days--Very dangerous stuff....

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#20

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/27/2013 2:41 PM

I have had a really good laugh over the answers to the question. First, two aircraft in line with each other flying at the same speed can't collide. Second, the boom operator actually flies the boom into place with an operational wing on the end of the boom while the pilot of the AC to be refueled holds his air craft as steady as he or she can. This is usually part of an extensive training program using dummy booms which have no fuel in them. The JP4 is transferred through the flying boom into the opening in the air craft being refueled. It is a delicate operation. However, with enough practice it is usually pulled off without incident. This operation has been used for over 60 years now by the Navy and the Air Force. I was in the Air Force in the 50's when the process was started.

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#21

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/27/2013 2:54 PM

CAREFUL...U.S. PATRONS: ONLY GENERAL WIDELY AVAIABLE PUBLIC INFORMATION SHOULD BE DISCUSSED: MAY BE ITAR!

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/27/2013 4:54 PM

No state secrets here... nothing that you can't find out on the Discovery channel....

In fact the OP should watch a bit more TV....

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#23
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Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/27/2013 6:35 PM

The OP should learn how to use a search engine!

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#24

Re: Refuelling of Aircrafts

02/28/2013 3:01 PM

Since you did not mention "current" technology: back in the early 1950's (or was it the late 1940's?) The Soviet Air Force used wing tip to wing tip refueling for a part of its bomber fleet. I think it sort of resembled a mid-air collision... at least it did not involve wing walking with a 5 gallon jerry can.

Imagine if you will a small glider on an umbilical cord that includes a fuel hose, with an inverted funnel as a guide. The guy on the air tanker guides the glider parts to help with the rendezvous. The guy accepting fuel pops up his fuel receptacle tube, and starts lining up speed, etc. This is close formation flying of the highest order, and requires (1) communication, (2) attention to details, and (3) good flying.

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